Parents More likely to Violate Children in Nigeria – NPC

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A survey by National Population Commission shows a parent or adult relative is more likely to perpetrate violence on children in Nigeria

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Nov 14, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE statistics are frightening. Yet this is the evil Nigerian children are living with daily with many people actually not realising it. According to the National Population Commission, NPC, approximately six out of every 10 children in the county experience some form of violence daily. It stated that one in two children experience physical violence, one in four girls and one in 10 boys experience sexual violence and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence every day.

The NPC, in its 2014 national survey on violence against children in Nigeria made available to Realnews, stated that the majority of children who experience physical, sexual or emotional violence in childhood do so on multiple occasions.

The survey said 80 percent of children suffer physical violence, 70 percent suffer sexual violence, while 80 percent suffer emotional violence.

Presenting the report at the just concluded media dialogue on End Violence Against Children, EndVAC, campaign, organised by United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Sylvanus Unogu, deputy director planning and research, NPC, said children often experience more than one type of violence either at same time or at different points in childhood.

“Girls are significantly more likely to experience both sexual violence and physical violence than other combinations of violence. Boys are significantly more likely to experience both physical and emotional violence, than other combinations of violence. Of those children who experienced violence, over half of children first experienced physical violence between the ages of six and 11.

“Approximately one in 10 children first experienced physical violence under the age of five. A third of girls experienced their first incident of sexual violence between 14 and 15. Almost a third of boys experienced their first incident of sexual violence at 13 years and younger. 26 percent of females and 9.6 percent of males reported that their first sexual intercourse under the age of 18 years was forced.

“Approximately half of the children first experienced emotional violence before the age of 12. The majority of children surveyed witnessed violence at home. 66 percent of females and 58 percent of males witnessed physical violence at home before the age of 18 years.”

According to the survey, a parent or adult relative is the most common perpetrator of physical violence in childhood (35.5 percent for females and 34.1 percent for males). Adults in the neighbourhood accounted for 28.7 percent of violence against girls and 24.7 percent of violence against boys. It stated that amongst ‘adults in the neighborhood’ who perpetrate physical violence, male teachers are the most frequent perpetrators of the first incident of physical violence for both boys and girls (over 50 percent).

The survey noted that girls’ first experience of sexual violence is most commonly by a romantic partner, followed by a friend, neighbour, classmate and stranger. Seventy percent of girls perceived perpetrators to be five years older or more. Boys’ first experience of sexual violence is most commonly a classmate or a neighbor. Amongst adult caregiver or relative perpetrators of emotional violence, parents/step parents, followed by uncles/aunts, are the most common perpetrators of first incident of emotional violence

The survey examined the context of the first experience of sexual violence. It stated that children most likely to experience sexual violence in the perpetrator’s home (50.5 percent for girls and 31.6 percent for boys), followed by their own home (19.2 percent for girls and 30.6 percent for boys). Also, 15.1 percent of girls and 24.8 percent of boys first experience of sexual violence was at school.

The survey noted that such incidents are most likely to take place in the afternoon; less than half of all respondents who experienced physical violence tell someone; sexual violence had even lower rates of disclosure – only 38 percent of girls and 27 percent of boys tell someone and children who do tell someone are much more likely to tell a relative or a friend than a service provider or authority figure.

According to Unogu, the national survey on violence against children conducted in 2014, measured the prevalence, nature and consequences of physical, emotional, and sexual violence against children. He said the survey was designed to provide information that will guide policies and strategies to prevent, identify, and respond to violence against children; estimate the national lifetime prevalence of sexual, physical, and emotional violence against children; identify risk and protective factors for sexual, physical, and emotional violence against children and recognise the health and social consequences of violence against children.

The survey assesses the knowledge and use of medical, psychosocial, legal, and protective services available for children who have experienced sexual and physical violence in Nigeria, as well as the barriers to accessing such services; and identify areas for further research.

A total of 4203 (1766 females and 2437 males) individuals aged 13 to 24 years participated in the Nigeria VACS. Thirteen to 24 year olds were separated into two age sub-groups for analysis: 13 to 17 age group and an 18 to 24 age group. Lifetime prevalence estimates of childhood violence were based on responses from participants aged 18 to 24 reporting on their experiences prior to the age of 18.

The 13 to 17 age group yielded information on events occurring in the past 12 months preceding the survey. All states in Nigeria were covered by the survey. The ‎survey met internationally accepted research standards of household sampling to derive national statistics. Similar survey has also been carried out in Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, Haiti, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malawi, he said.

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